Global tech giant, Microsoft, through its 4Afrika initiative, has entered into a partnership with ICE Commercial Power, a Nigerian-based renewable energy provider, to provide reliable solar power to about 10,000 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) across the country over the next two years
Emmanuel Ekwueme, chief executive officer, ICE Commercial Power, who disclosed this in a statement made available to BusinessDay, said the partnership with Microsoft4Afrika will enable the company leverage a powerful cloud platform to deliver quality service to its customers.
ICE had piloted its business model with a focus on small businesses with many of them suffering most owing to the country’s electricity supply woos, making a greater percentage of them having higher production cost.
“The team at Microsoft 4Afrika and Microsoft Nigeria has been very supportive from day one, and with their partnership, our earlier pilot program has been a great success. This next phase will enable us to scale our technology to reach more small businesses across the country,” Ekwueme said.
He noted that a major technology component of the ICE operation involves utilizing cloud-connected solar equipment, which helps facilitate remote monitoring and maintenance, adding that the company maintains an integrated web and mobile-based platform that helps to facilitate payments processing for customers.
Commenting also, EduAbasi Essien, ISV Lead West Africa for Microsoft4Afrika, said the partnership was vital for wealth creation and youth engagement in viable business enterprises in the country.
“SMEs play such a vital role in driving economic growth and job creation on the continent that enabling their success is a key part of what we do through the 4Afrika Initiative. We’re excited to partner with ICE Commercial Power on connecting SMEs to alternative energy sources, minimising business downtime and maximising productivity,” Essien said.
Off-grid energy solutions, such as this, are also a key investment area for us, as evidenced through the recent launch of the African Development Centre (ADC) in Lagos, which has off-grid energy innovation as a key priority,” she added.